Q Theatre, Luna, Auckland

25/04/2014 - 26/04/2014

NZ International Comedy Festival 2014

Production Details

Jayran Mansouri brings cutlery, vegetable oil and funeral poetry to this year’s Comedy Festival 

Jayran Mansouri is making her solo debut in this year’s New Zealand International Comedy Festival with ‘Jayran Mansouri’s Kitchen of Curiosities’, an hour of quirky, innovative and confessional stand-up comedy based in a kitchen made of cardboard boxes. It’s like an animated, theatrical journey into the most bizarre parts of Jayran’s mind, beginning with her early life with an Iranian family who wanted her to inherit the family law business and ending with a collection of unconventional greeting card ideas. 

Jayran’s comedy is characterised by an all-pervading and absolute strangeness. She has been described by Ben Hurley as “truly unique”, and by everyone she has ever met as “very weird”. This show will bring together an hour of her craziest observations and true stories. From cutlery role play to dead fish impressions, Jayran always brings a weird and wonderful perspective on the world to the stage. However, although she plans to joke about serial killers and the time she was accused of having a Hitler fetish, Jayran has decided to write her Festival show to have no swearing and no jokes that come from malice. She prefers to find other, less obvious boundaries to subvert.  

‘Jayran Mansouri’s Kitchen of Curiosities’ is also characterised by its wide range of props. In this show, Jayran plans to use giant greeting cards, a book about vegetable oil, a jar of molasses, a book of funeral poems and even some cutlery. And yes, each of these has its own joke centred around it. This is in large part due to Jayran’s means of developing material-if she sees something that strikes her as amusing, she will try to make her observations into comedy. And if this involves using a cheese grater as a prop, so be it.  

Jayran is aiming to put on a funny, fresh and uplifting show that leaves you giggling for days afterwards. Prepare for a creative performance that brings together innocence and madness in a hilarious hour of comedy. 

Jayran Mansouri’s Kitchen of Curiosities
Luna at Q Theatre.
It runs from 7-8pm
25th and 26th of April 2014.

Theatre , Stand-up comedy ,


Brave first attempt needs lots more polish and control

Review by Stephen Austin 26th Apr 2014

Poor Jayran Mansouri. No one seems to understand her fixation with Hitler or serial killers. Could it be that she tries too hard to hide it under an exterior of bunnies, kittens and kitchen utensils? Yep, probably.

She’s a ball of nervous energy when she comes bounding on-stage and warmly stutters a greeting to us. Her set is a colourful hand-drawn background of boxes and paper, pinned to a board, obscuring a few large surprise crudely drawn hand-made props she has ready to spring on us. 

Her opening banter appears to be tightly-strung and raring to go, but within moments of launching into her material proper it’s clear, with this first solo show, she’s just not prepared for an audience yet. 

Sure, she’s a warm performer with a style of awkward whimsy that is easy to enjoy, but there’s so much pent-up nervousness that it just gets right in the way and the audience are soon squirming through many of her observations. 

The show that she’s written herself is certainly well-crafted and hits all of the right crests, repetitions and re-incorporations to sustain a decent Comedy Festival show, flitting through bizarre impressions, alternative greeting card ideas and enacting police procedural dramas with cutlery, but it is delivered too much by rote and without enough relaxed direct interaction with the audience.

The gags are at their best when they’re less conscious and allowed to breathe genuinely. But those moments are sadly too infrequent to be satisfying. 

I do feel that Mansouri has invested much of her own personality into this rather than finding a character hook to heighten the ridiculousness of it all. If it was played more for the observations and not mostly trying to awkwardly elicit our sympathies, I might have felt a little more engaged with the absurdity. There’s only so much ‘laughing at’ a performer that a paying audience is willing to give before it turns to uncomfortable shifting in seats and checking the time. 

The hand-drawn set isn’t really as functional as it initially appears either; simply a mass of paper and cardboard boxes. Maybe the mess could have been turned into some sort of device at the service of character and/or story.

Not a bad first attempt, and certainly a brave one, but needs lots more polish and control to get an audience rolling in the aisles. 


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